A Golden Shears trifecta for Hawke's Bay
It was a trifecta for Hawke's Bay at the Golden Shears shearing competition last night, winning the top three places in the final in Masterton.
After three days of hard slog and sweat, the shears wrapped up its 54th competition that saw champions knocked out and records broken.
Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith successfully defended the open shearing title and was joined on the podium by four-times winner John Kirkpatrick of Napier while Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa, took out third spot.
Former multiple world champion and 16-time Golden Shears champ David Fagan had earlier missed out on making the final and commentator John McBride said it was a real shame but also a great opportunity for emerging talent.
Mr McBride has been working at the shears for more than 20 years and attending for more than 40 years - in the earlier years he was a competitor, albeit a "very social one".
Entertainment is important at the three-day event that attracts a lot of visitors and people who don't know a whole lot about shearing.
"It's our job to tell the crowd what's going on and they pick up some tips, knowledge and history and that's entertaining for them,'' he said.
About 1500 people filled Masterton's War Memorial Stadium last night with the open finals and the annual transtasman shearing tussle, which Australia pipped New Zealand to win, being the biggest drawcards.
Mr McBride said it helped that the Castlepoint Races and Martinborough Fair were also going on because it brought more people to the district and gave visitors a break from the three days of shearing competition.
"The camaraderie between the shearing fraternity is still really strong and they get a lot of support here.''
One of the biggest surprises at this year's event was two young Welsh shearers breaking a 23-year drought between crowns.
Hefin Rowlands and Alun Lolyd Jones competing in the junior and intermediate shearing finals respectively picked up Golden Shears titles.
The Dominion Post